Craig Shirley

If liberalism still has an organizing philosophy, it is a white hot, unreasoned, and, yes, frightening hatred of all things conservative and all things Bush. Within the Democratic party today, the reigning idea is an outright craving of power. Democrats do not allow debate within their party. If you are pro-life, as in the case of the late Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, you are ostracized. If you support some part of the president's foreign policy, as in the case of Joe Lieberman, you are defeated in a primary and then shunned.

If Republicans have disappointed the American people, it's because they have standards and rules that they sometimes fall short of. Liberals are unencumbered by such standards except those of political correctness, and who can figure those out anyway? (In the latest version, Marquette decreed last week that grad students shall not display quotations from humorist Dave Barry on their doors.)

Republicans have established high standards for themselves, and this is a good thing, as we've seen in the Mark Foley case. Some GOP commentators are wailing that 20 years ago, the recently deceased congressman Gerry Studds, a Democrat, did not suffer for his homosexual relationship with a 17-year-old congressional page. And it's true: No one ever calls a Democrat a hypocrite on moral issues. But that's hardly a selling point for a party. Republicans should not be upset if Americans have come to expect not very much in the way of ethics and morality from Demo crats.

What the garden-variety angry white male needs to remember is that Democratic anger has a different source than his own. Democrats aren't angry at the moral failings of Republicans. Democrats are furious because they can't understand why they, the party of government, have been denied control of Washington by the American people.

Quin Hillyer, on the American Spectator website, poses the question well: "Who do you want, going forward, to handle taxes, national security and judges, the conservatives or the liberals?" A Democratic Congress would not sit still. As Larry Kudlow has warned, the Bush tax cuts will not be safe just because of the veto pen. "President Bush," he points out, might be "confronted with a [Hobson's] choice of vetoing a so-called $500 billion deficit reduction package that would overturn and rollback" his tax cuts.

As Ronald Reagan might ask, whose world would you prefer to live in four years from now, the liberals' or the conservatives'? For my money, I'll take the messy and mistake-prone but good-hearted Republicans over the brooding, power-hungry, and uncommonly good-looking Democrats. So should all conservatives.

Organizing a political movement around the principle of freedom combined with moral rigor has never been easy. But the fact that conservatism is hard is what makes it great.

Craig Shirley

Craig Shirley is a Reagan biographer, a presidential historian and Chairman of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs. His firm is assisting Scott Walker’s presidential campaign.